Speaking of chess, I just found out from Wikipedia that the game is believed by scholars to have originated in India during the 6th century CE, where it was known as... guess what? Chaturanga! As many of you who read this blog know, Chaturanga means "four limbs" in Sanskrit. Applied to this ancient version of chess, "four limbs" refers to the four divisions of the military in ancient India: Infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariotry. These four elements would go on to evolve respectively into the pawns, knights, bishops and rooks of modern chess.
I suppose for most of us yoga practitioners--and in particular, Ashtanga yoga practitioners--the first thing that comes to mind when the word "Chaturanga" is mentioned is that push-up-like pose; you know, Chaturanga Dandasana. Well, maybe chess is Chaturanga Dandasana for the brain, i.e. when you play chess, you put your brain through a workout comparable in intensity to putting your body in Chaturanga Dandasana.
Folks doing chaturanga with their brains
[Image taken from here]
Ah well. Chess for the body, Chaturanga for the brain... does it really matter, in the end? Alright, I really really need to go get some work done now... More later.